There is something to be said about strength in small numbers. Perhaps you’ve come across Jeff Bezo’s ‘Two Pizza Rule’. If two pizzas can’t feed all of the participants, then there are too many people there!
You may think that efficient and effective delivery within a small team would be straightforward and relatively easy to manage. And whilst it is considerably different to managing the moving parts of a team of 30+ people, managing projects within the small team is not without its own challenges.
Don’t forget. The principles of project management are adaptable, whatever your team size
In smaller delivery teams, many people are wearing various different hats and it’s all hands on deck to get the job done. And whilst this can be a very positive thing, as your team is exposed to many different roles and responsibilities, it can cause extra pressure within an over-capacity resource. When it comes to managing projects in a small team, you need to be strategic.
What makes smaller teams successful?
Projects fall apart when there is a lack of planning, a breakdown in communication and poor quality control. Project management for small teams demands transparency across all tasks and products. In order for smaller teams to succeed, they need to be led by three core pillars:
- Structured organisation
- Open lines of communication
- Clear direction
It is these three elements that help maintain the structure of whatever you’re working on, whether it be a client project or an internal shakeup.
What are project teams looking for?
Generally, project teams are looking for simple solutions to help streamline their processes whilst pushing them further towards their goals. Tools and software can be useful assets to help.
Effective tools for small delivery teams
With a plethora of tools and software available, many teams can find themselves rattling through multiple tools and software in a desperate bid to find the right one.
It has to be said though, tools won’t save you if you haven’t got your ducks in a row, however, they can help make streamlining things, a lot easier, especially in a small team.
In my experience as a PM, I’ve tried and tested various different project management tools and have previously discussed some of them at length here: How project management tools help digital agencies.
Pricing is naturally a big issue for smaller teams and companies so it is therefore very important to ensure that you use a system that is not only sustainable for the business but it also works financially.
Other favourable PM tools include:
Trello: Trello is one of the best visual project management tools out there. Using the Kanban methodology, you create boards that contain lists and cards that represent all the different pieces of your project. You can set due dates, add comments and labels all through an easy drag and drop function.
Basecamp: Team collaboration between internal and clients is very important. We enjoy using Basecamp to keep all our client comms in one place. Basecamp is so easy to use, just set up a camp to view a simple message board with file sharing functionality.
It goes without saying that projects are run differently in small, medium or large businesses, but with the support of software to help streamline and delegation of responsibility, you’re well on your way to project success, whatever your team size.